The In-Laws (2003) starring Michael Douglas, Albert Brooks, Robin Tunney, Lindsay Sloane, Maria Ricossa, Ryan Reynolds directed by Andrew Fleming Movie Review

The In-Laws (2003)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Michael Douglas in The In-Laws (2003)

Meet the In-laws

I'm not going to name names but I read a review of "The In-Laws" which basically consisted of it being compared to the original 1979 version and finding the remake severely inferior. Now I am not judging the opinion, each to their own and all that, but what is interesting is when watched having not watched the original "The In-Laws" this 2003 remake works thanks to the casting and the energy. It is why there has and always will be a place in the movie industry for remakes as for new audiences they will be entertaining and to be honest remakes are made for new audiences rather than for fans of the originals.

With his son Mark (Ryan Reynolds) about to marry Melissa (Lindsay Sloane) Steve Tobias (Michael Douglas - It Runs in the Family) is yet to meet the impending in-laws. He has an excuse as whilst everyone things he is a copier salesman Steve is actually an undercover CIA Agent in the middle of trying to recapture a nuclear submarine. When Steve eventually meets Melissa's parents things don't go down well as her risk averse father Jerry Peyser (Albert Brooks - I'll Do Anything) does not like Steve's cavalier attitude. And things get worse when Jerry ends up drawn into Steve's messy life when he is mistaken as a contact and taken to France to meet a dealer.

Albert Brooks and David Suchet in The In-Laws (2003)

So as you can assume as of writing I have not seen the original "The In-Laws" but even without having seen it this remake is a movie which is not exactly new. What we have is an odd couple set up, the daring Steve and the risk averse Jerry thrown together on a comedic adventure. It makes it all about the chalk n cheese comedy of the thrill seeking Steve and the constantly panicking and playing it safe Jerry. And there is nothing wrong with that because the good casting makes it fun but at the same time ends up familiar.

The trouble with "The In-Laws" is that it ends up all about the jokes and the storyline ends up playing a considerable second fiddle. In fact you end up paying very little attention as to what is happening and just watching for the laughs which there are many of.

But as I said "The In-Laws" succeeds because of the casting with everyone working well to deliver amusing characters although they don't always work well together. Michael Douglas is in his element as the thrill seeking, confident Steve who has this ability to mock with that smile and way of saying things. But Albert brooks fills Jerry with lots of nervous energy that he steals many a scene with his reactions to being dragged into Steve's world. Yet in a supporting role as Steve's assistant Robin Tunney makes the most of her scenes with her comically sexy and dangerous aide and David Suchet as a camp bad guy is hilarious.

What this all boils down to is that "The In-Laws" is a lot of fun with enjoyable performances from all the cast especially Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks. But at the same time it is nothing new even if you have never seen the original as it is just an odd couple movie.